There are more and more travel destinations that “guarantee” at least 100 years of life. One of the best known is that of Okinawa in Japan, where 68 out of 100,000 inhabitants have exceeded the age of 100. At a country level, Spain is one of the countries with the highest life expectancy and forecasts suggest that in 2040 the country will have an average life expectancy of 85.8 years (currently 82.2), with 40% of the population over 65 years old become. And in Spain there is a city that surpasses all of these Blue Zones.
This is the city of Ourense. With a population of 105,505 inhabitants, this region can boast of its centenary celebrations. “The Galician city of Ourense has interest rates similar to those in Japan (Okinawa) or even higher,” says economist and university professor Iñaki Ortega in his book The Gray Hair Revolution.
As the National Statistics Institute (INE) published last year, the number of centenarians in Galicia was 1,823. Of these, more than 340 come from Ourense, which corresponds to a rate of 75 centenarians per 100,000 inhabitants. This number is lower compared to some areas in the region, such as Tierra de Celanova, where there are 252 centenarians for every 100,000 people.
And so? How is it possible? If you compare these wonderful destinations (Okinawa, Nicoya, Icaría, Loma Linda or Sardinia), you will find the same parallels in all of them: tranquility, active life and harmony with the environment. Without industry and pollution, the residents of Ourense live peacefully thanks to the rural environment and livestock farming.
“These are rural, relatively poor populations where there is no obesity. “In addition, they are usually people who lead simple lives and have less stress than the majority,” says David Reher, professor at the Faculty of Political Science and Sociology at the Complutense University.
In addition, these populations, so closely linked to the rural world, give these people a feeling of being useful until the end of their life, which is not the case in cities, where the elderly begin to have an exclusively affective, but not to play a productive role, as explained. Miguel Ángel Vázquez, President of the Galician Society of Gerontology and Geriatrics at Faro de Vigo.
Studies still rare
“In the last decade, areas have been identified where there are many centenarians, but we know relatively little about the causes.” So far, experts point to a very healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, few calories and lots of nutrients for these specific groups.
In this sense, in the areas where centenarians stand out, their low rates of diseases such as arteriosclerosis, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, etc. also stand out.
Although there are few studies on Ourense and it does not yet have the Blue Zone designation, it is the focus of scientists who want to find out how we can reach the end of our road in such a healthy way.
To study all the causes, a group of health experts (professionals, doctors, pharmacists, nutritionists, etc.) decided to create a longevity laboratory called Ourenstividad.
Its purposes include promoting the dissemination of the nutritional value and healthy properties of food, as well as healthy habits of the province of Ourense, such as: B. sustainable nutrition within the Atlantic diet, healthy lifestyle habits, thermalism and environmental behavior in the context of evidence-based longevity.
Spain, the oldest country in 2040
Spain currently ranks fifth among countries with the highest life expectancy at 83.5%. In front of them are Norway (83.6%), South Korea (83.8%), Switzerland (84.5%) and Japan (86.2%).
Previous forecasts, such as those from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation collected by the Global Economic Forum, saw Spain as the country with the longest lifespan in the world in 2040. In this sense, one of the causes The most important are due to the diet, which, in addition to nuts, vegetables and cereals, is also rich in olive oil